Archive for September, 2011

Paul Westlund

Paul Timothy Westlund, 57, died tragically September 22, 2011 as a result of an airplane crash in Papua, Indonesia. As he had for many years, Paul was piloting a small aircraft, serving the physical and spiritual needs of the people and land he loved so dearly.

Paul was born on June 14, 1954 in Minneapolis, MN, the son of Howard and Lois (Foss) Westlund. He was united in holy matrimony to LaVonne E. Martin in 1979 at the West Chicago Bible Church; the service was officiated by his dad, Howard.

Paul graduated from Moody Aviation with a B.S in Aviation in 1981. He became a member of JAARS Aviation and Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1983 and began serving overseas in 1987. Paul was a highly qualified and well respected pilot. He was certificated as an Airline Transport Pilot with a Multi-Engine Airplane rating. He held a Certified Flight Instructor license and an A&P Mechanic license.

Before serving with JAARS, he gained experience flying with Gardner Express (IL), Prompt Air (IL), and Weber Aircraft (PA).

Paul was an exceptional husband and father. He loved to surf, exercise, and build and fly model airplanes. Paul was an animated storyteller and would tear up nearly every time he got to the crux of his storyline. Paul faced many difficult trials during his overseas service, and yet he could regularly be heard saying, “Isn’t this just the best life a guy could have!”

Paul is survived by his wife LaVonne, his daughter Joy and granddaughter Jadyn, and his son Mark; his parents, Howard (Lois) Westlund; his sisters Jean, wife of Dr. Robert Chase, and Petrea, wife of Timothy Ratliff. He was preceded in death by his sister Janet. Paul is in heaven now, not because of his faithful commitment to his wife and family, his love for and forgiveness of others, his easy-going character or good deeds, nor his humble service to the Lord. Paul is in heaven because he gave his heart to Jesus.

Funeral services for Paul were held in Papua and were attended by both his national and ex-patriot family members who were serving alongside him. He was buried in a local cemetery near the family’s overseas residence.

A memorial fund has been established in Paul’s name. Inquiries concerning this fund may be directed to members of the family. The family also welcomes gifts toward the JAARS aircraft funding project S4700, a project that Paul wholeheartedly supported. Detail concerning this project can be found at: http://www.jaars.org/projects/s4700.

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“Dir biabir anbesa yasir.”

“If all the spiders work together to make a web, they can capture a lion.”

-Ethiopian proverb

Dr. Haileyesus Engedashet and Dr. Daniel Hankore
Dr. Haileyesus Engedashet and Dr. Daniel Hankore are both Bible translation consultants in Ethiopia. Photo by Adam Jeske

At first glance, Dr. Daniel Hankore and Dr. Haileyesus Engedashet may seem like unlikely partners in Bible translation work. They worship with different denominations, speak entirely distinct mother tongues, and work with separate organizations. Yet both are Translation Consultants, and both believe passionately in translation.

As they took turns speaking at a Bible translation awareness gathering, there was no doubt they shared a common purpose. And between sessions as they enjoyed laughter and coffee together, it was clear their friendship runs deep.

Recalling the years they spent attending graduate school together, Daniel said with a friendly slap to Haileyesus’ shoulder, “We became like family.”

Partnership brings synergy

The partnership between Haileyesus and Daniel is a piece of a larger picture across their home country of Ethiopia where partnership in Bible translation is bringing together a vast array of Christians toward a common purpose.

2009 Ethiopia CP Meetings
2009 Ethiopia CP Meetings held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo by David Ringer

Partnership is not unique to Ethiopia, nor is it new in Ethiopian translation work. The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, a member of the Lutheran World Federation, invited Wycliffe staff to come to Ethiopia to help with Bible translation programs more than 30 years ago. Over the years, that partnership broadened to include other denominations and organizations.

Recently some of these partners gathered to formalize their partnership and design a Comprehensive Plan (CP) that outlines agreed upon goals and activities for language development and translation.

This partnership includes the two largest protestant denominations in the country—the Ethiopian K’ale Heywet Church (meaning “Word of Life”) and the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (meaning “Place of Jesus”). The partnership also includes The Word for the World Ethiopia; the Evangelical Churches Fellowship of Ethiopia (ECFE); Protestant and Orthodox churches; several organizations associated with the Wycliffe Global Alliance; and SIL Ethiopia, which brings its expertise in education and language development.

“[The partnership] has created synergy. We can do better by partnering with others than we can by ourselves unilaterally,” said Rev. Yonas Yigezu Dibisa, Director of the Department for Mission and Theology for Mekane Yesus.

Much has yet to be done

The enormity of the task of translation in Ethiopia reinforces the need for unity. Over 80 languages have been identified in Ethiopia, of which only eight have complete scriptures and nineteen have complete New Testaments.

The Bible Society of Ethiopia
Yilma Getahun, General Secretary for The Bible Society of Ethiopia. Photo by David Ringer

Yilma Getahun, General Secretary for The Bible Society of Ethiopia, spoke similarly. “[Partnership] starts when we see the number of languages in the country and the number of scriptures translated. It is very clear how much work needs to be done.”

One reason for partnership is to use resources wisely.

“[Alone] we cannot reach the whole nation, but if we work with different organizations we can share different skills, expertise, and it minimizes cost and time,” said Tessema Wachemo, Director of The Word for the World Ethiopia.

While efficiency in resource use is a clear advantage of partnership, Mike Bryant, the CP Manager for SIL, made the point that “partnership is most important because of the issue of ownership.”

Doug Blacksten, Deputy Director of SIL Ethiopia and the previous National CP Manager, explained, “If translations were done by one group and not the others, some groups just wouldn’t accept it.”

While the organizations share a common purpose, they each bring unique skills.

“Everyone brings to the table their strengths and their experience, and we need everyone in the group for developing a language, [translating the Bible], publishing it, and finally making it available to the community,” said Dr. Tesfaye Yacob, National CP Manager and former General Secretary for the K’ale Heywot Church.

Focusing on common goals

No relationships come without challenges, though. The past decade in Ethiopia has seen splits within denominations as well as confusion over responsibilities among different organizations and disappointments over funding expectations.

Dr. Daniel Hankore
Dr. Daniel Hankore fields questions. Photo by Adam Jeske

At the workshop, Haileyesus and Daniel fielded difficult questions on the differences between denominations.

“If we work together and resolve our problems it will be better than pointing fingers at one another,” Daniel said afterward. “We must protect our unity.” In order to achieve this unity, he advised, “Look not at your own identity; look at the common goals.”

Tessema Wachemo agreed that they must focus on the urgency of the task. “People are dying and losing their opportunities before they hear the word of God in their mother tongue,” he said. “[Bible translation] is not an optional ministry, it is mandatory.”

Read a longer version of Partners in Translation.

Editor’s note: Christine Jeske and her husband Adam have served as development workers in Nicaragua, China, and South Africa. She recently published a book called, Into the Mud–Inspiration for Everyday Activists. This story was originally written for the Wycliffe News Network.

Learn more about the Ethiopia Comprehensive Project.

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Paul Westlund

Wycliffe USA’s partner organization – JAARS, Inc. confirmed that an aviation accident took place early this morning in Papua, Indonesia; the pilot and the two Indonesian passengers were killed.  The cause of the accident is unknown.
The aircraft was a Pilatus Porter PC-6 operated by YAJASI, an Indonesian partner organization. The pilot, Paul Westlund had been flying in Indonesia for nearly twenty-five years.  Paul is survived by his wife and two children. No further details are available at this time.

(Photo courtesy of Clive Gray)

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Brian Frey in Papua New Guinea

Some of you may have heard that I, Brian, got to have a little adventure this past week.  The adventure included trips in both an airplane and a helicopter and took me to some of the most remote parts of PNG and to places I had never been before.  What was I doing?  Well a translation team who works in the Sandaun Province of PNG had an airstrip lawnmower that was no longer working and they needed a mechanic to go and diagnose and repair the machine where it was.  The province is called Sandaun (i.e. “sun down”, or “sunset”) because it is on the far Western edge of the country, right next to the Indonesian border.  Since our normal small engine guy is away at the current time I was selected as a good candidate to go.  I must say that I didn’t complain about a trip across PNG when someone else was footing the bill!  So I HF emailed (that is, sent email messages over the HF radio) to the translators in the village to try and figure out what was wrong, then gathered some parts and tools.

I left on a beautiful Monday morning and flew about an hour by airplane, sharing the ride with a single translator lady to a bush strip halfway between Ukarumpa and the town of Wewak in the Sepik.  There we met up with our helicopter (well actually it is another mission’s helicopter that we were borrowing while ours is in the shop for some repairs, ours is blue and white instead of red and white) for the half hour ride to Wewak.  We refueled and added some more of the translator’s cargo to the chopper and headed out to her village another half hour away. We dropped her off and flew to yet another airstrip to refuel again.  By this point I was getting really good at jumping out of the chopper with the rotors turning, grabbing the hand fuel pump and hose out of the rear compartment on the chopper while the pilot went to find a drum of fuel.

After this last refuel we finally made it to the Yanebi airstrip which was our final destination for the day.  So I left Ukarumpa at about 7:30am and we arrived at Yanebi at around 2:00pm.  We had a bite to eat and then I starting working on the mower while the pilot left to sling load (that is to have cargo carried under the helicopter by a long rope) some drums of fuel from the translator’s house with the helicopter.  From the airstrip, the translator’s house is about an hour and twenty minute walk through the sago swamp – or about a five minute chopper ride over the trees.  It took me a couple of hours to figure out and repair the problems with the mower.  Basically the carburetor main jet had become plugged with crud and needed to be cleaned and they were using the wrong spark plug.  However, before I point too many fingers I have to tell you that I didn’t help the situation because I just brought more of the wrong spark plug instead doubling checking with the book and bringing the right one.  So after I got the mower running and the belts all adjusted the mower worked good except for a small constant backfire from having a too-short of spark plug.  However, we have new plugs scheduled for a flight this next week and the team on the ground there can change it out quickly and easily.

After the mower was running and the locals were cutting the grass for an hour it was time to fly over to the translator’s house for the night.  This was probably one of the most fun parts of the whole trip.  When the pilot was sling loading the drums of fuel he had also taken the front doors off to make the chopper a bit lighter.  So with the pilot and I in the front and the translator and a few of the Papua New Guineans in the back we took off and did some fun maneuvers right over the water of the river that flows through that area.  The pilot loves to do this whenever he gets a chance, so with a light load and a short trip we zipped through a few oxbows before popping up over the trees.   Even with the noise canceling headphones on I could still hear the cries of the nationals as we did 60 degree banking turns as we followed the river.  The pilot and I just grinned.
After a nights sleep we took off for the trip back to Ukarumpa.  We stopped off in Wewak to drop off the translation couple after their village stay and I continued on in the helicopter.  We went to a couple of air strips that are in progress of being built to do some survey work and take pictures.  Then we also stopped off in a village to pick up school materials that needed to be delivered across a mountain to another location that didn’t have an airstrip.  I stayed behind while the pilot made the shuttle.  Then we got back in the chopper for the final flight home.  On the second day we left the village at 7:00am and returned to Ukarumpa at around 4:30pm.
At one of the airstrips we surveyed there was this old Ford tractor (along with a bunch of implements) off in the weeds.  The government had flown it in some years ago by helicopter to build the airstrip, but it had broken down (they told me it was the clutch). Now the people are finishing the airstrip by hand.  I’m sorry to say that I don’t think that this tractor will ever run again without some serious parts.  The engine oil and transmission fill plugs were both long gone and I think both systems are probably full of water.  I have to admit though that I kept thinking about the identical tractor that I have in Ukarumpa, and how this one would sure be nice for parts!
It was two full days and I was ready for my own bed, but it was a great experience and it is so amazing to see how much tools like lawnmowers and helicopters make a difference to people who live in the remote regions of Papua New Guinea.
Editor’s Note – This post was adapted from Brian and Susan Freys’ blog post. They are serving in Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea.

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September 19 – November 11, 2011

Beginning next week, we’re inviting you on a prayer journey—one that will lead to Wycliffe’s World Day of Prayer on November 11, 2011.

Wycliffe USA is just eight weeks away from this annual day of prayer that is observed corporately throughout every Wycliffe office in the world. It’s a day of encouragement and a reminder of God’s goodness through the work of Bible translation. You can be a part of it.

Beginning Monday, September 19, there are just 40 weekdays until November 11, so we’re going to launch 40 days of prayer on PrayToday, and focus prayer on the Bible translation process, from start to finish. We’ll look at the scope of the vision, the major parts of a Bible translation program, and the challenges to it all. Join us, and pray along, as we take this journey.

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” (Ephesians 6:18, NLT).

Want to know more about Wycliffe’s World Day of Prayer? Click here to find out why this is a prayerful tradition for our organization.

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Photo courtesy of Korie James

By Christa Dowsett

After a three-day walk in sweltering heat, the wives of the Daasanach translation team were sadly disappointed. With increasing famine a foot, project leader Korie James asked the team to continue their translation work rather than escort their wives to Ethiopia to beg for food.

“I asked the men not to go because the work will be stopped,” Korie said. “We want our people to have the word of God in their own mother tongue and so if this can be an excuse, or if this is what Satan uses to slow down our work then it will not be good.”

The last sight of rain came to the Daasanach people in April for two days. What little grew from that was quickly devoured by goats and cows – the main source of food for the Daasanach people. Because of the desert terrain, actual farming is nearly impossible. At least half of Korie’s goats have died from starvation, and he is worried that many of the people are soon to follow.

At this point the children are eating two small meals of porridge a day while adults are limited to one. Korie explained they live in a social community -if one starves they all starve.

“They don’t come and demand, but of course you feel in your mind, how can I eat when my neighbor is not eating,” He said.

Korie became a Christian while attending a missionary school. It was Christmas, and 266km was too far to travel to see his family. The pastor asked him if Jesus came back would his family or anyone else be able to save him? It was an obvious choice for 10-year-old Korie.

After attending Dilla Bible College in Ethiopia and pastoring a church for three years, He set his sights on Bible translation and joined BTL. In 2007 he became the project leader for Daasanach.

“To have something written in your language; then you’ll know the real deep meaning of it and you’ll know what it’s talking about,” Korie said. “So to me when they read this Bible, when they read that it is God speaking to them in their own mother tongue, they will know who the real God is – not their gods who they are believing in. Lord willing, in the year 2012 we will be finished with the New Testament.”

Korie asked for prayer over the 30,000 plus Daasanach families fighting the famine together. Many are blaming God for the famine or assume that God has cursed them. However Korie has a different response.

“To me, in everything, God is in control. No matter how bad it is – if people die, then God is in control. Maybe God has a lesson for us. That’s what I’m taking it as. In all ways possible I thank God that whatever situation comes, as Philippians says, ‘In everything, give thanks to the Lord.’”

Editor’s Note: This article was written in 2009 but still accurately describes the famine happening in the area today. To support projects in Africa click here.

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The Brewer 5

I just wrote this message to an e-mail group I subscribe to for missionary women. It’s a genuine look at my heart today. A not-so-fun side of mission life. I thought I’d share for what it’s worth. To give you a glimpse into my life and heart but also it’s just therapeutic to “put it out there”, you know? I’m sitting here this morning feeling really homesick. I just got an e-mail from my sister telling about her Labor Day weekend. I had forgotten … Read More

via Find Me In the River

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